If you grew up in the 90’s, you are more than likely familiar with the games Pokémon and its many characters, such as Pikachu, and Ash Ketchum. The show and the games were hugely popular back then and even the kids less inclined to get into gaming knew who Pikachu was. After a few years of being mostly forgotten, Pokémon now experiences a resurgence in popularity with the new augmented reality game Pokémon Go and its full map.
What is Pokémon Go
For those of you who have been hiding in a cave for the last few months, Pokémon Go is a new mobile video game using augmented reality. Created by Niantic, it launched in Canada at the beginning of July 2016. The game quickly took the world by storm and is now one of the most popular games out there. It had, as of July 26, an estimated 75 million downloads.
So why is it so popular?
Pokémon Go is part of a new trend in mobile gaming. The game uses the GPS and augmented reality technologies to create an unique experience where real and virtual world become intertwined. Using your iPhone or Android device and a Pokémon Go full map, it physically takes you to different locations in the real world where you can virtually catch different species of Pokémon.
The new game is based on the traditional Pokémon games and, like them, the game makes you catch Pokémons, do battles in Gyms, and evolve your Pokémons. However, rather than sitting in front of a computer or game console, you get to get out of your house, walk around and explore your neighborhood while trying to capture virtual Pokémons.
While the aim of the game is to catch Pokémons, its side effect is that you get to explore your neighborhood, meet fellow players and discovers cool locations through Pokéstops. It will likely bring you to places you never thought of visiting as well as familiar places.
About the map
The goal of the game is to catch Pokémons who are wandering around in a virtual world resembling your real world. Therefore, in order to play Pokémon Go, you will need to use maps. The game includes a map on which your avatar will move when you move in the real world.
What does the Pokémon Go map tell me?
That map will show you the location of the Pokémons you can capture once they are close enough. During the capture the game will pass into augmented reality and will reflect your surroundings while the Pokémon moves around in it on your screen. The Pokémons you can catch will vary according to your location and the time of the day. For example, during the night, your will most likely find nocturnal Pokémons, while near the water, chances are you will meet water Pokémons. This means that to be really successful at the game, you will need to visit many of the locations shown on the map.
Another thing the maps also shows is called Pokéstops. Those are places of interest in your areas. It can be a historic building, a permanent cultural display, a beautiful landscape, a place favored by tourists or other such locations. You may discover interesting information about the area you are in, but more importantly Pokéstops are a good place to gather items that you will need for the game, such as Poké Balls (used to capture Pokémons), Poké Eggs, potions, and more. There, you can also gain experience, which will help you later during your game. The Pokéstops will show on your map in the shape of a blue icon. When you get close enough to collect the items there, the icon will change. Once you collected the items, the icon turns purple and you cannot go back for 10 minutes.
As in the traditional game, Pokémon Go features gyms. The Pokémon map also shows the location of gyms. It is where you are going to battle other Pokémons or go and train your Pokémon. Like Pokéstops, the Gyms are actual locations in the real world. It can be a church, a local monument, a touristic spot or other places of interest. In the game, you can gain control of the virtual gym by battling other Pokémons. In real life, you will meet other players in those locations. To find gyms on your map, look for high structures resembling towers.
Where does all that data come from?
One question that you may ask yourself is where does data come from to create the map. As of now, the answer is not clear. We do know that the game uses the GPS technology in your phone. Beyond that, it is mostly educated guess. Niantic, the creator of the game, has developed a mapping technology that they probably use in Pokémon Go. We also know that with their previous game Ingress, they gathered map data. So, it is possible they chose to reuse it. Another possible source of data is Google maps. After all, Niantic started as a part of Google… More information may become available in the future, but for now, it is anyone guess.
How do I use the map to catch Pokémon?
As mentioned earlier, as you walk around your neighborhood, your avatar will follow along on the Pokémon Go map. When you get close to Pokémons, it will show you their location. You can then go find them and capture them. First, however, you should position yourself somewhere safe, like off the road, out of the way of traffic or other pedestrians. Once you moved to safety, tap the screen to start capturing your Pokémon with a Poké Ball. Depending on the type of Pokémon, it may take more than one attempts. The more powerful the Pokémon, the harder it is to capture him.
While walking around looking for Golem or Tentacool, you don’t have to constantly look at your phone. After all, it can be pretty dangerous walking about without looking where you are going… Niantic has thought of your safety. Your phone will vibrate when you get close to a Pokémon. There is also a voice option. For more on how to play Pokémon Go, there are several guides available online and in the app stores.
Where else can I find maps?
The Pokémon Go map is great, but you may want more or, like some players out there, you may be complaining of frequent glitches or lags. Not to worry, the player community quickly came together after the launch of the game and now all kinds of Pokémon Go maps are available online. However, depending on your location, they can be more or less useful. Chances are if you do not reside in a big center, they will end up being not as useful to you. All the same, it is still a good idea to check out some of them. Just in case.
If you type “Pokémon Go maps” in your search engine, a large number of results will appear. It will be up to you to filter them and find the gem in the long list… Most of the maps you will find are likely to be created by users. Obviously some are better than others. It depends on what you are looking for.
Google Map actually have user created maps for Pokémon Go. In some of them you can add the location and the date on which you captured your Pokémon. You usually also can see the locations of Pokéstops and Gyms. However, for those of you in smaller cities, it may be more difficult to find a map that applies to you. Although this may change soon… After all, the game has only recently been launched in Canada.
The Web is not the only place you can find maps or at the very least information. Social medias can also offer you clues to help you play the game. There are actually Twitter users who have accounts that let you find out where the Pokémon are hiding. You can also find some data on Facebook. However, you will need to scroll through feeds to find the information you are looking for, which can be time consuming and frustrating.
The App Store
In the end, your best bet may be the app stores. More and more developers are making maps available. Most of them are free to download and, obviously, their quality varies. You may have to try a few before you find the one that is perfect for you.
Whether you just join the Pokémon Go community or are a player since the first day, Pokémon Go full map is something that your need to know about and be able to use. Whether you like it or are dissatisfied with it, keep in mind that like every new game out there, it is likely to evolve. In the main time, there are plenty of resources available to help you becoming a successful player. So go explore the world and have fun!